Weight watching: Minister targets overloaded lorries and bribery

Image courtesy of ThaiPBS

Thailand’s transport ministry pledged stricter enforcement against overloaded lorries and aims to eliminate highway-related bribery in a move to enhance road safety.

The minister directed the Department of Highways (DoH) and the Department of Rural Roads (DRR) to utilise new technologies to enhance the detection of overloaded vehicles and to take serious legal action against violators.

Overloaded lorries contribute significantly to road damage and accidents. To combat this issue, Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit has advocated for the implementation of a 3D measurement system, which will work in tandem with existing weight-in-motion (WIM) technology and licence plate recognition (LPR) cameras.

The DoH has already installed WIM and LPR systems at 192 locations and is expanding this to 16 more sites, with plans to cover an additional 752 areas. Suriya considers these systems as crucial in the enforcement of weight limit regulations.

“When all these 960 locations are equipped with WIM technology and an LPR camera, they will form a nationwide network for detecting overloaded vehicles.

“They will help improve the enforcement of the law limiting the carrying weight.”

Efforts to curb overloaded lorries have shown promising results, with a noticeable decline in the number of drivers caught. Between October 1, 2023, and June 19, this year, 2,107 cases were recorded, down from 2,659 in the same period the previous year.

In a year-on-year comparison, the total cases last year were 3,416, down from 3,488 cases recorded in 2022. Suriya emphasised the urgent need for the elimination of highway bribery linked to overloaded trucks.

“And while I am the transport minister, there must not be any highway bribery, while the number of new cases of overloaded vehicles will have to decrease.”

The DoH and DRR have identified 10 provinces where this misconduct is prevalent: Ayutthaya, Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, Chon Buri, Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Nakhon Sawan, Ubon Ratchathani, Saraburi, and Chachoengsao.

In addition to reinforcing checks at highway weighing stations, the DoH and DRR have increased random spot checks using mobile lorry weighing equipment. This measure aims to catch violators who might otherwise evade fixed checkpoints.

The minister’s commitment to tackling this issue reflects a broader strategy to enhance road safety and integrity. By integrating advanced technology and maintaining strict enforcement, the government hopes to mitigate the adverse effects of overloaded vehicles on Thailand’s infrastructure and ensure safer travel for all road users, reported Bangkok Post.

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Ryan Turner

Ryan is a journalism student from Mahidol University with a passion for history, writing and delivering news content with a rich storytelling narrative.

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